So I have married New York. Everyone says the first year of marriage is hard.
I got an email about money trouble. I have had several such issues out here, not even having to do with my admittedly mediocre money management skills, all having to do with some merciless behemoth bureaucracy. In such an old and huge city, there are plenty of those.
I always head north when I am freaking out in Manhattan. North of my work, the streets are a grid, and when I have calmed down, I know I’ll be able to figure out where the hell I am. If I started walking south, I might be lost forever.
I can’t decide if Manhattan is a great place to freak out, or a terrible one.
Were we in love? Yes. Are there practical considerations that make things difficult? Yes. Are we in love? I guess.
I walked north, north, on hold with the bank, phone to my ear, 4 pm, Friday, Manhattan, Eighth Avenue. There is everything: every kind of food, every kind of shop, plenty of people, street by street, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and it’s occurring to me that this doesn’t make much sense, but I’m so cranked up, I don’t think I can sit still.
Streets here are often quiet. Near my work, there are several places painted on the street, “LOOK,” with little eyes in the O’s. We cross streets against the light constantly– even the wide avenues. As long as someone else crosses with you, in a fleeting but playful alliance, and as long as you LOOK, you will probably not get hit by a car.
I was supposed to be going south, to happy hour with my colleagues, where everything was going to be all right, but no, here I went north, north, north.
23rd. This is where it feels like midtown starts. Midtown is crowded and brusque, and the architecture suddenly isn’t so great. A man with excellent customer service skills told me everything was fine, and there was no problem, someone else must be mistaken.
I love some new things, like Christmas trees on the street that you can walk through and smell and smell. Christmas trees in New York are out I’m the mix of things, just like the market bouquets that live outside all year, showing themselves gorgeous. In the winter, they get a tent, but they are still out there.
I love living closely with other people. Even though occasionally they wake me up on a school night or hit me with their bags, also sometimes they do my dishes and save me from mice and offer to carry my suitcase down the three flights of stairs to my apartment.
Once my money mess was settled, I started walking south. Tables of cell phone covers and hats and gloves for sale. People starting to get off work, tired and happy Friday. Ten blocks south, to where the streets go wonky.
I walked into a dark West Village bar so old it looked soggy. One half of the bar was six inches higher than the other. Twenty people at a long table over to the side yelled joyously and raised their glasses.
They do that every time a new colleague shows up. It’s pretty great.